And then your cell phone rings and it’s your agent. In the middle of the day. You answer it, confused, but not concerned. Not until you agent tells you to sit down. You are sitting down, but you’re also driving an F250, so, in your confused state you ask, “Well, do you think I need to pull over?” To which she simply says yes.
Your mind whirls with what could possibly have happened. Have you been downgraded to e-book only for your release? Has your release date been bumped? You turn on your hazard lights. You’re ready for whatever’s going to happen next.
Your agent’s voice rings through the cab of your truck. “Strange Chemistry is closing their doors effective immediately.”
You were not ready for that. Your response is completely rational. “You’re kidding, right? That’s not funny.” You double check to make sure it isn’t April 1st because that’s the only thing that makes this conversation even remotely plausible.
The images fade and you sit up in bed. It was a dream. Right up there with who shot J.R. and every book that’s ever started or ended with a dream. Everything is still awesome.
Except it isn’t awesome and it isn’t a dream. It’s real. You and a lot of crazy talented authors are the proud creators of orphaned books. You have woken up to the writer’s worst nightmare. Add the distinction that this is your DEBUT and what you really want to do is go back to sleep and hope the next dream involves unicorns and glitter cannons.
But avoiding the situation won’t make it go away. Neither will the wine, though that does help a little.
I want to be clear. I don’t have any ill-will toward the people I’ve worked with at Strange Chemistry. Amanda Rutter has an eye for talent and is an amazing editor. I hope another publishing house knows what a gem she is and scoops her up. Caroline Lambe has been such a pleasure to work with, answering my endless stream of questions. And my IU Alum connection, Mike Underwood has taught me a lot about the sales side of the business. I don’t regret working with them at all!
But, I would be lying if I said I was okay with this. I’m not. I’ve done the denial thing. You know, when you hope a knight in gleaming armor is going to rescue your publisher, or at least recognize that your book is actually literary genius in its purest form and make you an offer you just can’t resist. Remember, this is denial, after all. I’ve tried to do the angry thing, but I’m not sure who to be angry with. There’s no clear direction in which to aim my furry. This is, unfortunately, part of the book business. Lots of factors went into this. (Can you see that I’m currently in the rationalizing stage… trying to make sense of something that just doesn’t.)
I still have some more emotions to go through. I’m trying to avoid the depression by staying focused on what’s next.
It’s A Wonderful Death is not the same book it was when SC gave it a home. It’s better.
So what’s next? Since the rights revert back to me, my agent, Liza Fleissig, who has been amazing through all of this, will send the new and improved manuscript out on submission, with the blurbs and trailer and pre-sales information, and we will find a home. It may take a little while, but we will see the inside of a bookstore.
In the meantime, I hope you will all join me in buying Strange Chemistry titles and show my fellow pub orphans just how much you love them!
Remember, when life slams a door in your face, BE FEARLESS and kick in a window. Because there's something wonderful about nightmares: you will eventually wake up and things will be okay.